ESS: Utica-Rome: Race report

Dan Kaszubinski takes advantage of Mike Lutz's misfortune to collect ESS win at Utica-Rome. VERNON, N.Y. -- When Mike Lutz pulled his sprinter to the infield on "lucky" lap 13, Syracuse, N.Y.'s Dan Kaszubinski took full advantage to beat all...

Dan Kaszubinski takes advantage of Mike Lutz's misfortune to collect ESS win at Utica-Rome.

VERNON, N.Y. -- When Mike Lutz pulled his sprinter to the infield on "lucky" lap 13, Syracuse, N.Y.'s Dan Kaszubinski took full advantage to beat all other foes and collect his third Empire Super Sprints Tour 2002 event. The popular victory came in front of a big Sunday night crowd at the Utica-Rome Speedway.

It was looking to be a four car battle royale--Lutz pulled out into the lead right at the start with a wild, cushion bagging move to go from fourth to first in the first two corners. Kaszubinski, Bubby Kerrick and Justin Barger settled in to run second thru fourth respectively. While it was looking to be a Lutz cakewalk early, slower traffic allowed the other three sprinters to close in and it was shaping up to be a four car dual to the finish.

But, on lap 13, Lutz's mount pulled into the infield just seven laps shy from the finish with a broken throttle linkage. Barger spun around on lap 15 to bring out the races' only caution and that now made it a two car horse race. A combination of a little luck early and a very fast car late was what Kaszubinski needed to bring home the checkered flag and collect ESS career win #18.

"When I saw the line-up for the feature, I figured this was going to be Mike's (Lutz's) race. He looked just so fast all night in his heat and dash." said Kaszubinski shortly after the 20 lap A-Main. "As soon as I got a few laps in the feature I realized that the cushion was perfect, I started to run the car as hard as I could. When Mike got to slower cars I could reel him in. It was going to be a real interesting race if he stayed out and if it stayed green right to the end."

Lutz didn't stay out and the race did have that one caution. Kaszubinski wasn't about to throw back the breaks that came his way. "When the yellow came out and Mike wasn't there, I had a good feeling that I could stay in the lead. The car felt that good." said the driver of the Autotech of Syracuse #20. Bubby Kerrick and Jeff VanDusen became the next challengers for Kaszubinski but when the green lights shined for the restart, this driver was ready to make a victory lane visit.

"I saw Bubby in the inside of me at the start but I felt that he couldn't hold the momentum down there. The cushion was the way to go tonight and I was going to stay there and run hard." Kaszubinski was a prophet, he did take to the cushion and he did pull out from Kerrick to take the lead. The final five laps was all his to bring his 1987 Bobby Allen chassis home to victory lane.

"I'll admit that it helped that we started out front and Mike dropped out, but the track fit my style. It was the best I have ever seen this place, a nice cushion, fast and a ton of bite." noted the victor. "But, I had to win, it's my dad's birthday tomorrow and he told me to get a birthday victory. Guess he was right."

At the finish stripe, Kaszubinski had a sizable lead over Kerrick who held off VanDusen's Dale Beach Logging #56 for second. Taking fourth was Mike Stelter with Bobby Podolak in fifth. The next five was made up of John Karklin Jr., Lance Yonge, Rick Wilson, who earned the Walt's Hobby Hard Charger bonus after starting in 18th, Billy White and Ryan Coniam.

Taking the Brodix Cylinder Heads heat events were Stelter, Kaszubinski and Lutz. The Walt's Hobby Dash was won by Lutz with Ray Preston winning the KSE Racing Products B-Main.

ESS NOTES: A big field of 37 sprinters filled the pits--Making their return to ESS competition was R.C. Faigle after a one year absence and Bob Featherly who was one of the ESS original pioneers back when it first started in 1983. It was Featherly's first sprint car start in more than a decade--The fast track produced engine woes for some teams, Faigle and "Crash" Nash were out after the heats while Bill Coffey switched to his back-up mount for the B and A-Mains--.Daniel Lampron was the only flip victim of the night with a tumble during the B-Main--Transponders were put on some of the sprinters to track speeds, both Ryan Coniam and Mike Lutz toured the half-mile in 17.5 seconds making for the fastest laps in Utica-Rome history--Next weekend will find the fourth annual Bully Hill Vineyards Fall Sprint Nationals taking place at the Black Rock Speedway. All the ESS stars will be on hand looking for the $4,000 pot of gold that culminates the big two-day weekend event.

-ess

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Series Sprint
Drivers Justin Barger , Bill Coffey